Montessori Handwork: Hanging Felt Geo Heart

 
“It is the child’s way of learning.  This is the path he follows.  He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so he passes little by little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of joy and love.”

 

 
 – Maria Montessori

 

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Montessori Handwork:  Hanging Felt Geo Heart

Some Background

February is a special month for our Montessori family.  It feels like it was just yesterday that our daughter was making her Valentine’s sewing card for her dad while practicing her newfound sewing skills.  Here we are a year later.  She’s grown from making sewing cards and practicing her stitches on her sewing board with a blunt tipped needle to creating original works from raw materials.
 
The skills we practiced throughout this experience include tracing a pattern, threading a needle, tying knots, sewing, and even some cordmaking.  Her busy little hands are gaining strength and coordination, developing muscle memory, and perfecting her pincer grasp with each experience.  In addition to crafting an original work that celebrates her love for her mapophile dad and their shared love of geography, our preschooler is also laying the groundwork necessary for handwriting.

 

Project Plan

We chose to combine our love of hearts and Montessori Geography for this project, but this work could easily be adapted to showcase a heart with other embellishments or a traditional spherical globe.  We have been learning about map projections and our preschooler decided to project one onto a heart as a display of her affection for her dad.

Montessori Handwork Felt Heart Display

Sewing is a labor of love and it requires concentration and patience.  She spent several days working on this project.  Below you’ll notice the work is presented and displayed in such a manner to entice interest as well as to provide a safe space for storing between sessions, typical of a Montessori environment.

Materials Organization

We keep most of the materials we use in this beautiful craft box that my parents gifted to me when I was pregnant with my oldest.  It came with a bunch of knitting goodies in it, some of which we are still using to this day.  It has housed several special projects over the last few years as they were in progress.  As a result, I have really come to appreciate the durability and beauty of this box.  It’s a lovely piece of art on its own and we really enjoy having it on our shelves.

A sewing box or basket is also a great way to build up and store a small collection of yarn, needles, and accessories without going overboard.  Right now, we have an assortment of sport, double knitting, worsted, and bulky weight yarns in a variety of colors and fibers.  In addition, we also keep inside colorful embroidery floss, knitting needles in various sizes, crochet hooks in various sizes, sewing needles, a pincushion, a needle threader, a sewing board, and our lucet.  It sounds like a lot but many of the items are small and it’s a diverse enough collection of essentials to keep our family interested.  Items currently in use by our children are displayed on a tray between sessions.  Wool felt, scissors, buttons, and other types of craft embellishments are kept in our more general craft supply basket.  Our patterns usually come from several craft books or online resources.

Check out below to see how our preschooler created her Montessori Hanging Felt Geo Heart. It’s a great project for those who celebrate Valentine’s, love Montessori Geography, or just want to creatively show some love.

How to Make a Montessori Hanging Felt Geo Heart

Materials for Montessori Felt Heart:

Procedure

Our daughter found a suitable heart shape to use as a pattern for our felt.  She then traced the heart shape onto two pieces of blue felt (light and dark blue) and cut them out.  This doesn’t have to be a really precise cut because the hearts will be turned inside out and shaped using the child’s fingers after they are sewn together.  We secured the hearts together with a pin and placed them on the tray with the other sewing materials.

The pretty gold elephant pincushion and the excitement of using a felt sewing needle made this very enticing work for our preschooler.  She confidently used the needle threader to thread the needle.  Once she created the knot with some assistance, she was off.
Child Sewing 2 pieces of heart felt together to make a seam

Push down through the light blue, pull.  Up through the dark blue, pull.  We used this narrative to guide the work of the running stitch.

When our preschooler was done with this work for the day, she returned the needle to the pincushion and placed both the pincushion and her work back on the tray.  The tray was placed on a high shelf to keep out of the reach of some other small, curious hands.

Next Session

During her next session, she finished sewing the perimeter of the hearts together, leaving just enough space (approx. 2″) to turn it inside out and stuff with wool batting.  Her small fingers were perfect for this task and she didn’t require any of the tools that adults typically use to accomplish the same thing.  Once she was satisfied with the amount of stuffing inside, she worked the seams of the heart to create the shape she liked.   Next, we used some craft glue to seal the remaining 2″ opening.  Finally, the continent appliques were glued to each side of the heart.  (An older child may choose to sew these appliques on for added detail.)
 

Materials for Cordmaking:


Some Background

Our preschooler has recently begun working with a Lucet, or knitting fork, to make cords and bracelets.  The Lucet, which originates from the Vikings, is recommended for ages 4 and up.  It is a really neat tool for making bracelets, belts, decorative rope, etc. while encouraging concentration, coordination, and fine motor skills.  They are great for keeping little hands busy during circle time or read alouds.  Our preschooler sometimes enjoys using yarn that changes color with her lucet so that she can create multi-colored pieces with one skein.  We chose a neutral color cord for this project so that the heart and the map appliques would remain the focus of attention.

Procedure

Our daughter is left-handed (she comes from a long line of lefties) and most lucets come with a tutorial on how to use them, as there are several ways.  As a result, I’m going to leave out the specific steps we use.  It’s not difficult and with practice it becomes an effortless task driven by muscle memory.  We chose to use a cord over something like a braid to create the hanging loop for this project, because cords are much more durable.  You can even cut a cord and it won’t unravel, unlike with a braid.
Right now, we do a combination of modeling and working with assistance to create these cords, so that is what we did here.  Also, I tell my preschooler a story as she is working with the lucet.  That narrative, about a couple sheep, reinforces the knowledge of the hand movements and the path of the yarn as she is working.

 


Putting it All Together

Our preschooler threaded her needle using a felt sewing needle, a needle threader, and some blue embroidery floss.  Then, together, we secured the cord to the heart, creating a loop.  She has been celebrating her unique creation ever since and she is so excited to give it to her dad.
 

In Summary

 
Our oldest has enjoyed her time spent making her dad a special gift.  This Montessori Handwork Felt Heart with Cord and Map applique is sure to be a hit with him.  Our 2.5 year-old son has been practicing his cutting skills by cutting out hearts to display in our home, and building with his wooden heart stacking blocks.  Our 9 month-old daughter is super silly and has been keeping us all in stitches!

 

Just another day in the life

Sewing resources for Montessori Handwork Felt Heart with Cord:

Also, feel free to check out our February book list for some inspiration.

We hope everyone has an awesome week and a special month of love! <3

PIN FOR LATER

Help your child to grow in their independence, develop their pincer grasp, and strengthen their hands while simultaneously developing their concentration. This Montessori Practical Life Sewing Shelf Work: Hanging Felt Geo Heart is perfect for the child who loves Sewing, Hearts, Valentine's Day, and/or Geography. #montessori #montessoripracticallife #montessorihandwork #montessorigeography #homeschool #montessorisewing #sewing #geopillow